Students in the Savannah Public Schools come from all over the US and the world, bringing with them a wide range of backgrounds, experiences, and knowledge. Because language barriers can impede the learning of students whose first language is not English, Savannah-Chatham County Public Schools provide an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) program. Administrators, classroom teachers, ESOL teachers, paraprofessionals, and parents work together to assist ESOL students in learning a new language in a new place.
All new ELL students should be referred to the appropriate ESOL site as soon as they arrive in the District.
The majority of English Language Learners in the Savannah-Chatham Public School System attend an ESOL Cluster Center. The ESOL teachers assume all responsibility for English language learners attending an ESOL Center.
In addition, each District school is required to designate a site ELL contact person. This person is responsible for following all District ELL directives concerning guidelines, assessment, data collection/management and monitoring ELLs in the regular classroom.
The education of students whose dominant language is not English is the responsibility of every school, magnet school, and charter school in the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. Federal law requires that every school district provide an educational program for each student whose dominant language is not English for the purpose of facilitating the student’s achievement of English proficiency and the academic standards.
The challenge of each public school in Savannah is to prepare all students, including those learners who enter our schools with a language other than English, to succeed in academics and in life. Meeting the needs of these students is a special challenge, as well as a legal and moral responsibility.
All District schools need to deliver daily English to Speakers of Other Languages instruction (ESOL), which is consistent with state and national standards, the needs of each student, and local mainstream curricula. There needs to be an emphasis on academic and content-based English language instruction that produces students literate in English.
Students whose listening, speaking, reading and writing test scores suggest a need for ESOL instruction are assigned to schools with ESOL programs. If the home school does not have an ESOL program, students should be assigned to an ESOL center and transportation is provided. Students are allowed to remain at the ESOL Center school for one additional year after exiting the ESOL program.
Parents always have the right to refuse ESOL instruction if they do not wish to have their children assigned to a school out of their boundary area. They may also withdraw them from the reassigned school after the children exit ESOL and enroll them at their home school
The district expects that all students who qualify for ESOL support will be enrolled at the appropriate ESOL Cluster Center:
May Howard ES
Windsor Forest ES
Port Wentworth ES
West Chatham MS
Research shows that English language learners who are left to "sink or swim" in regular classroom settings, without the support of an ESOL program, develop gaps in their education, most noticeably in reading comprehension.
The ESOL Program offers special classes which:
- Assist students from a variety of educational and linguistic backgrounds so they learn English more quickly
- Promotes both academic and social communication
- Provide opportunities for students to improve English proficiency and progress in subject areas
- Provide daily instruction to develop sequential skills in listening, speaking, reading and writing English
- Provide cultural orientation for future academic, professional and personal success
- Provide intensive English skills and orientation to the new school and society for Newcomers